Hands on: Asus ZenBook Flip S review

World's thinnest hybrid

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Our Early Verdict

The Asus ZenBook Flip S is an incredibly thin and light 2-in-1 device. If you're looking for a machine that works as both a laptop and a tablet, and also combines stunning design with a tempting price, then this could be the machine for you.

For

  • Very thin-and-light
  • Lovely design

Against

  • Unclear on price for top-end model
  • Unclear on specs for low-end model

At Asus' kickoff Computex event, chairman Jonney Shih excitedly announced the Asus ZenBook  Flip S – which he declared was the thinnest convertible laptop in the world.

It doesn't take much to get the eccentric Shih excited, but it appears his enthusiasm is well placed, as from what we've seen the Asus ZenBook Flip S is set to be an incredibly well-built, powerful and desirable device.

As a follow-up to the well-received Asus ZenBook Flip UX360, Asus appears to have improved on nearly every aspect, while, crucially, maintaining the ZenBook Flip family's most compelling feature: a low price.

Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 release date and price

At the launch event on May 29, it was revealed that the Asus ZenBook Flip S would go on sale with a price tag starting at $1,099 (around £850, AU$1,500). This elicited an excited response from the crowd, and it certainly seems like Asus has pitched this at a very compelling price.

This is around twice the price of the older – and less powerful - Asus ZenBook Flip UX360, and about the same price as the HP Spectre x360, which currently sits at the top of our best 2-in-1 laptop list.

For this price you're getting an excellently-designed hybrid laptop with some impressive specifications. While $1,099 is the price for the base configuration of the Asus ZenBook Flip S, you can choose other versions that come with more powerful components – but the price tag will rise accordingly.

We don't currently have a breakdown of how much the other configurations cost, but we'll update this review when we hear more.

We also weren't told a release date, though we hope it isn't too far off. We've reached out to our Asus contacts to find out more, so check back here soon to find out when you can get the Asus ZenBook Flips S in your hands.

Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 design

Probably the most striking thing about the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 – and the aspect Asus is pinning its success on – is its design. As we mentioned, Asus is boasting that this is the world's thinnest convertible laptop – and with a body that's just 10.9mm thin, it certainly seems that this is no hollow claim.

That's a fair bit slimmer than the older ZenBook Flip UX360, which has a 13.7mm thickness. Meanwhile the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, another 2-in-1 that puts an emphasis on stylish design, is also thicker at 13.7mm.

Not only is the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 incredibly thin, it's also impressively light as well, weighing just 1.1kg.

Making such a thin and light laptop – especially one that can swap between laptop and tablet modes, is no easy feat, and Asus was keen to highlight the innovations it made when it comes to making the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 so svelte.

This includes making the body out of aerospace-grade aluminum, an ultra-thin vapor-chamber cooling system and a 'ErgoLift' hinge, which allows the screen to flip 360 degrees, whilst also remaining incredibly slim. To make sure this hinge is as robust as possible, Asus subjects it to a 20,000-cycle open-and-close test – so it's unlikely this hybrid is going to snap in two any time soon.

This results in the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 not only looking slim, but also carrying on the premium look that the ZenBook range has been known for, while also feeling both light and solid. It does feel fantastic to hold, and it's light enough to easily slip into a bag and carry around with you without causing any discomfort.

The 13.3-inch screen features a 4K UHD display for stunning image quality (with a pixel density of 331 PPI (pixels per inch), and it includes multi-touch support for using Windows 10 with your fingers or a stylus – essential when it is in tablet mode.  

Perhaps the most striking feature of the screen is the 'NanoEdge' technology, which means the screen is surrounded by incredibly thin bezels measuring just 6.11mm – leading to an impressive 80% screen-to-body ratio.

Overall the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 is a beautifully designed laptop that feels great to use and carry around, and will likely garner impressed comments from anyone you show it to.

Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 specs

Although we were impressed by the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 at the launch event, we can't help but feel that Asus was a little cheeky – while it only disclosed the price for the lowest-specification Asus ZenBook Flip S, it also only revealed the specs for the highest-specification model. 

That means we're not really sure what kind of specs the $1099 model will have, and nor do we know how much the Asus ZenBook Flip S with these specifications will cost.

What we do know is that you will be able to get a Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 with up to an Intel Core i7 CPU (seventh generation), up to 16GB LPDDR3 RAM, and with a PCIe 3.0 SSD up to 1TB in size. Expect this to cost a fair bit more than the $1,099 that was announced.

The ZenBook Flip S uses a specially-designed high-capacity 39Wh lithium-polymer battery that has been created to be as thin as possible, without compromising on battery life. While we haven't had a chance to fully test the battery life of the ZenBook Flip S just yet, Asus claims it has a 11.5-hour battery life, and that it uses fast-charge technology to reach 60% from empty in just 49 minutes – a weirdly specific claim.

Check back for our full review of the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 when we will put Asus' battery claims to the test.

Despite its ultra-thin design, the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 doesn't skimp on ports, with two USB-C ports that support 4K external displays (as well as being able to power the device, and transfer data). A mini-dock is also included (this is to keep the size down), which expands the ports with HDMI, USB 3.1 and USB C. 

The reliance on using a dock isn't the most convenient, but at least Asus is including it in the price – Apple take note.

Early verdict

Even with this early hands-on review of the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370, we can tell that this is an excellent device. Its thin-and-light design really does live up to the hype, making this a hybrid laptop that you could comfortably carry around with you almost anywhere.

It's also got a sturdy build quality, and it looks fantastic thanks to Asus' excellent designers. It really does feel like a premium device, and it comes with some impressive specs, and full Windows 10 support, so you can make use of Microsoft's handy new features such as Cortana, Windows Ink and Windows Hello biometric security. 

The $1,099 (around £850, AU$1500) price tag is pretty decent, especially compared to its competitors, but this is where we have to add a note of caution.  We don't currently know what exact specifications a ZenBook Flip S with that price tag will come with, nor do we know how much the top-end ZenBook Flip S will cost. 

Hopefully Asus will reveal that soon – as well as a release date, as we think the company could have a real hit on its hands with this.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.